If you’re suffering from chronic arthritis pain, you know it’s a constant battle. You’ve probably tried every over-the-counter pain reliever and may want to avoid prescription painkillers. One option that you may not have tried yet are essential oils for arthritis.
Essential oils are also called volatile oils. Steam or pressure is used to retrieve the oils from different parts of plants, including:
These healing oils are used in aromatherapy. They’re most commonly put into an infuser and inhaled. Essential oils are growing in popularity because they act as natural medicine without any side effects.
What makes them different is their characteristics. They contain things like:
- antimicrobial properties
- anti-inflammatory properties
More and more studies are showing their effectiveness for managing pain, which is why more and more people are trying essential oils for arthritis. So let’s take a look at which oils can help you if you’re living with either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Essential Oils For Arthritis: Diluting
Before we get into the specific essential oils for arthritis it’s important to point out how to use them correctly. Before you can rub essential oils onto your skin you must dilute them with carrier oils such as:
The carrier oils not only keep the essential oil from irritating your skin and causing other potential problems, but carrier oils strengthen the therapeutic properties of the essential oil. Talk to your doctor or pain management specialist to find out which carrier oil/essential oil combinations may work for you.
Essential Oils For Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you’re living with rheumatoid arthritis your rheumatologist probably prescribed uric acid-lowering medications to treat it. But here are some essential oil options you can try, too (after talking to your doctor) that may help.
A Korea University study looked at the effects of eucalyptus aromatherapy on pain management following a total knee replacement. The study found inhaling eucalyptus oil can decrease inflammation, pain and blood pressure following this procedure.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you can topically apply diluted eucalyptus oil or gel to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
Turmeric is an herb found in yellow mustard that contains curcumin (kur-kyoo-min), which is an active anti-inflammatory compound. As an essential oil, turmeric reduces inflammation, stimulates blood circulation and improves digestion.
If you’re treating rheumatoid arthritis, you can either apply it to the affected area or infuse the oil into the air.
Oranges are packed with vitamin C and essential oils for arthritis.
Researchers recently discovered the fruit’s pain-relieving capabilities in the emergency department. They tested the effects on people who came in with fractured limbs. They found aromatherapy with orange essential oil significantly decreased pain compared to those who did not breathe it in.
You can also apply diluted orange oil to your skin to reduce your arthritic pain. But if you’re using any citrus essential oils topically, you must avoid sunlight afterward.
Essential Oils For Arthritis: Osteoarthritis
Ginger is a common healing agent used for its anti-inflammatory properties and pain-relieving effects. It’s been shown to help with everything from nausea to muscle soreness.
Researchers at the University of Miami found positive results when they tested the effects of ginger extract on people with knee osteoarthritis—more than half the people using ginger extract versus those using the placebo.
To use ginger oil for pain, you can apply a few drops to the affected area. But test a small patch of skin first to make sure you’re not allergic. You can also use heat after rubbing the oil into your skin for a little more pain relief.
You may hear a lot about Frankincense around the holidays, but it can be effective as an essential oil for arthritis. It comes from a tree in Africa and is typically burned as incense.
You can try applying diluted frankincense oil to your skin.
If you’re looking for new or additional ways to relieve your pain, you may want to look into essential oils for arthritis. Talk to your doctor about adding them to your pain relief regimen.
Just set up an appointment with one of your primary care physicians.
If you don’t have one and want to learn the important differences between primary care and family medicine physicians, download our free guide “Choosing a Primary Care Physician.” It will start your journey to providing the arthritis pain relief you need.